Making the case for universal data health standards
It’s a big data world; we’re just living in it
Today, companies in every industry are utterly dependent on their data. Every business is now in the data business. Many organizations had already begun that journey, and when we found ourselves face-to-face with a global pandemic, the need to become data-driven became more urgent.
But even though companies know how important data is, they’re not successful at doing it yet. Surveys show that nearly 70% of companies have not created a data-driven organization, and over half are not yet treating data as a business asset. Why is this so challenging?
For decades, managing and using data for analysis was focused on the mechanics of the process: collecting data, cleaning it, storing it, and cataloguing it. It turns out this was the wrong problem to solve. More and more companies are finally realizing that this piecemeal approach doesn’t work. It’s not enough to simply collect, move, and prepare data more efficiently.
Data management is focused on the wrong things
The data management market, estimated to be worth about $130 billion, has attracted a lot of attention recently and rightly so. These solutions have become highly effective at moving and storing more and more data. But when data is moved and stored without any other considerations, it becomes a digital landfill of corporate information.
A huge number of companies still don’t know what data they have, where it is, or who is using it, and they have absolutely no way to measure its health. Data runs the world and yet it’s the one thing we understand the least.
Getting a pulse on corporate data health
Data management needs to be an active and intentional system that increases an organization’s understanding of its data. The solutions you use to manage data should provide the knowledge that will help make your organization smarter, more agile, and more efficient while avoiding risk.
Every business can do this through a concept called data health.
Data health is Talend’s vision for a holistic system of preventative measures, effective treatments, and a supportive culture to actively manage the well-being of corporate information:
- Preventative measures — preemptively identifying and resolving data challenges
- Effective treatments — systematically improving data reliability and reducing risk
- Supportive culture — establishing an organizational discipline around data care and maintenance
Overseeing these focus areas is a comprehensive system of proactive monitoring and reporting. The technologies and cultural practices that form this system will be unique to every organization, but the standards applied will be universal.
In the future, the aim is for data health solutions to help create a universal set of metrics to evaluate the health of corporate data and establish it as an essential indicator of the overall strength of a business.
A vision for a better future
We believe there will come a time in the not-too-distant future where we’ll look back and wonder how we ever functioned in business or as a broader society without a quantifiable way to measure the reliability, risk, and return of an asset so critical to our success.
In 2019, Vyaire Medical, a global respiratory care company, kicked off a digital transformation initiative. Their data infrastructure was a patchwork of inefficient structures, including 12 enterprise planning systems, meaning that employees had to collect data from wherever they could. Decision makers often receive conflicting data depending on its source. “There were so many design elements, top to bottom, that were never built to scale to the numbers we needed to scale to,” said Ed Rybicki, Vyaire’s global chief information officer. “So, we really needed to rethink the whole thing.”
This meant making some key infrastructure decisions — moving to a cloud infrastructure rather than remaining on-prem, building a centralized data repository that anyone in the company could access, and instituting data quality standards. In short, they made the call to ensure healthy data to anyone who needed it for analysis and business decision-making.
In 2020, COVID emerged, so there was more demand for Vyaire’s ventilators than ever before. “We had to replicate a highly customized manufacturing process for this line of ventilators,” said Rybicki. “It was probably 20 times beyond what had ever been done before, all in six or seven months. We were able to scale up these old systems—and help save lives.”
Because Vyaire made deliberate investments in the health of their data, they had complete clarity into their entire operation from factory floor to the boardroom. They were now able to answer the call of a lifetime.
No one should ever have to make decisions on information they can’t find, see, or understand. The ultimate goal of creating a data health practice is not just to establish confidence, but total visibility into your data, and therefore and a real quantification of value. We believe that once you establish your company’s baselines for data health, you won’t be able to imagine life without it.